GCSE results 2019: Four key points

As students receive their GCSE grades today, we outline the top trends from this year's results data

Catherine Lough

GCSE results 2019: Four key things we have learned from today's results data

A slight increase in top grades and standard passes to a four-year high

The percentage of GCSE entries achieving the top grades – at A/7 or above – has increased slightly compared with last year, rising from 20.5 per cent in 2018 to 20.8 per cent this year.

The proportion of entries achieving C/4 also rose to 62.9 per cent, up 0.6 percentage points against last year.

Passes at G/1 remained the same, with 98.3 per cent of entries achieving this both this year and in 2018.

However, overall, today's data suggests that results have stabilised as students and teachers have got used to the new qualifications.

Boys’ boost in top grades vanishes

While last year boys narrowed the gap with girls at the top grades of A/7 and above, this year any further narrowing of the gap has stalled.

Some 24.1 per cent of girls achieved the top grades this year, compared with a 17.6 per cent figure for boys – creating a gender gap of 6.5 percentage points, the same as last year.

However, the gender gap at the standard pass rate of C/4 has continued to narrow, with 71.7 per cent of girls gaining C/4 grades and above compared with 62.9 per cent of boys. This narrows the gap in performance from 9.1 percentage points last year to 8.8.

Language entries revive

Entries in modern foreign languages have risen by 3 per cent compared with last year. French entries are up by 3.2 per cent, while Spanish entries are up by 7.5 per cent.

Spanish has exceeded 100,000 entries for the first time ever, according to data from the Joint Council for Qualifications.

These figures are somewhat surprising given that the Department for Education said it was “struggling hugely” with GCSE entry numbers in MFL last year.

Girls achieve more top grades in Stem

This year’s results have confounded gender stereotypes, with girls increasing their share of top grades in physics and maths.

In chemistry, girls improved their share of top grades by 1.1 percentage points, in physics by 2.1 percentage points and in maths by 0.6 percentage points.

And in biology, often thought of as the science where girls dominate, the reverse happened, with boys narrowing the gender gap at grades A/7 or above – with the proportion achieving these grades up by 1.1 percentage points.

In English literature, boys also narrowed the gender gap in achieving C/4 grades and above – 66.4 per cent of boys’ entries achieved this level, up by 0.6 percentage points since last year.

Girls' entries have also given computing a boost, with a 14 per cent rise in female entry numbers since last year. Overall, the number of students taking the subject has increased by 7.2 per cent.


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author bio

Catherine Lough

Catherine Lough is a reporter at Tes.

Find me on Twitter @CathImogenLough

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